Motherhood Realized by Power of Moms - Read Online
Motherhood Realized
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Summary

We believe that family life is beautiful and that motherhood is a privilege. But we also believe it is often really hard to see all that beauty when we're in the midst of mothering. So often, we feel like we're spread too thin. We feel like we don't match up. Our hearts want to do more than our hands can manage. And every day, as we cycle through household duties, discipline, errands, conversations, teaching, and hundreds of unexpecteds, we're often left tired, worried, and in need of some extra inspiration and encouragement. Power of Moms is an online community of deliberate mothers. Since 2007, millions of mothers from all backgrounds who are striving to be the best they can be have gathered to our website to learn and grow together. Time and again, our posts receive comments that say something like, "I am going to print this out and put it on my nightstand so I can read it again and again." We've been concerned about those nightstands . . . getting all cluttered up with paper. So we've selected dozens of our most popular posts and compiled them neatly into this book just for you.

This book isn't just a book. It's a tangible representation of a living, breathing community of mothers. Motherhood is the hardest job we'll ever love, and it's so much better when we're doing it together.

Published: Familius on
ISBN: 9781938301933
List price: $9.99
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Acknowledgments

A book like this obviously doesn’t create itself, and we are so grateful to those who contributed their time, talents, and energy to make it happen.

First, we want each of our Power of Moms authors to know how much we appreciate them sharing their words of wisdom with our community. We feel strengthened each day as we read encouraging words from those who know our lives, and we are thrilled to have their thoughts and stories compiled into this book.

We also offer a huge thanks to the members of our Power of Moms Editing Team, including Alisha Gale, Rachel Nielson, Sarah Monson, and Amanda Lewis, who did an incredible job compiling these posts, getting them book-ready, and working with each of our authors. They devoted hours to this project—all for the purpose of helping other moms.

An additional thanks to Aven Rose, our main editor with Familius Publishing, who so carefully went through the entire manuscript and provided fantastic feedback to shape this book into the finished product it is today, as well as David Miles, who designed the beautiful cover.

We are also grateful to Christopher and Michele Robbins—Founders of Familius Publishing—for the work they do to strengthen families through the publication of excellent books. Working with them has been a pleasure, and we are glad to add our name to their list of authors.

And Power of Moms wouldn’t be anything without our community members who visit the site and actually implement these ideas into their own families. We feel privileged to associate with you and can’t wait to meet you online.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Becoming Our Best Selves

Watching You

Good Mom Redefined

Your Children Want You!

Big Things Are Made Out of Little Things

Lessons from PB&J

Why I Stopped Reading Mommy Blogs

Mommy is a Person

How I Justify Mommy Fun

Motherhood is Movement

Invisible Growth

I Want to Be Fabulously Ordinary

Getting through Hard Times

Light in the Tunnel

We Love Lucy

Just Plan on the Hard Stuff

Will It Be You?

A Thick-Skinned Mother

Love Loans

Look Again

Living My Dream

The Marathon of Motherhood

Do Unto Others

Accidents Happen. That’s Okay.

Expanding Motherhood

Look at the Big Picture

Worth Fighting For

Riding the Waves of Pain and Joy

Shifting Our Perspectives

You’re Not Mean, You’re Stressed

Tell a Different Story

Why Vacuuming Should Always Be Beautiful

What’s the Point of Housework?

The End is Imperfection

Landing Gratitude

These Glory Days

Children Live What They Learn

The Best Year of My Life?

Motherhood Defies Logic

Sifting Priorities

Say Yes

Roots and Wings

Savoring Moments

Joy or Just Wait?

My Life Is Full . . . Maybe a Little Too Full

Knowing When to Breathe IN . . . and When to Exhale

Green Beans and Gratitude

Mine!

The Power of a Pause

Boys

Before They Fly

Unrushed Moments

The Baseboard Dilemma

Realizing Life

Are You Getting What YOU Need Out of Motherhood?

Our Story: Balance and Fly

Conclusion

Introduction

Is motherhood what you thought it would be? In many ways, maybe it is. But if you’re like us, you’ve probably experienced a bit of a shock at some point (or at many points) during your experience as a mom.

We believe that family life is beautiful and that motherhood is a privilege, but we also believe it is often really hard to see all that beauty when we’re in the midst of mothering.

It’s common for us, as mothers, to feel like we’re spread too thin. We often feel like we don’t match up. Our hearts want to do more than our hands can manage. And every day, as we cycle through household duties, discipline, errands, conversations, teaching, and hundreds of unexpecteds, we’re often left tired, worried, and in need of some extra inspiration and encouragement.

In this book, we will real-ize motherhood by talking about the very real parts of it. You know those moments where you shake your head and think, What on earth have I gotten myself into? But throughout that process, we’re also going to help each other realize motherhood by coming to better understand why this unmatched, powerful experience—which is often so great and sometimes so hard—means the world to us.

Power of Moms is an online community of deliberate mothers. We’re often asked what we mean by deliberate mother, so, in a nutshell, we believe that deliberate mothers are intentional about the way they live, the way they care for their families, and the way they grow themselves, as women.

Since 2007, millions of deliberate mothers have gathered at powerofmoms.com and connected through social media, email, videos, podcasts, and in-person Learning Circles and Retreats to learn and grow together.

Time and again, we’ll read comments on the essays we post that say something like, I am going to print this out and put it on my nightstand so I can read it again and again.

We’ve been concerned about those nightstands getting all cluttered up with paper. So we’ve selected dozens of our most popular posts and compiled them neatly into this book—just for you.

This is the kind of book you can enjoy in three minute sips or devour section by section when you’ve got more time. In its pages, you’ll hear the voices of real mothers who know your life. You can highlight what speaks to you most, loan it to a friend, and then keep it handy on a bookshelf (or on an electronic device, if you’re reading it digitally). Then whenever you start to wonder if you’re going to make it through this motherhood journey, you can open it up and remember that yes, you can do this.

We have grouped the essays in this book into four categories that speak to every mother:

• Becoming Our Best Selves

• Getting Through Hard Times

• Shifting Our Perspectives

• Savoring the Moments

But please remember that this book isn’t just a book. It’s a tangible representation of a living, breathing community of mothers. Join us at powerofmoms.com to share your stories, communicate directly with the authors of this book, read fresh daily content, participate in our online programs, or sign up to attend a live Retreat.

Motherhood is the hardest job we’ll ever love, and it’s so much better when we’re doing it together. We’re here to learn from each other, comfort each other—and remind one another that, although our lives as women include a wide variety of interests and responsibilities, there is nothing more important than this crazy and beautiful profession of motherhood.

Chapter 1

Becoming Our Best Selves

Watching You

Catherine Arveseth

It’s true. I’ve been watching you.

Not in the creepy, lock-your-doors kind of way. But in the unspoken, wonder-and-admire kind of way.

I’ve watched you in my neighborhood, on morning runs, and as you kissed your kindergartner goodbye on the first day of school. I’ve watched you shuffle your family into church, swing your toddlers at the park, and carry two children safely through a mountainside of poison ivy. I’ve seen you juggle cereal boxes while talking on your cell-phone and pushing three kids through the grocery store. I’ve exchanged emails with you, read your blogs, and gone to dollar movies with you. I’ve gazed longingly as you pressed your newborn baby against your chest—sleepy legs dangling—your warm hand cradling his head.

Yes, I’ve been watching. And honestly, I’m amazed. You are remarkable. You are wonderful. You are mothers.

Each of you is unique. You have different time constraints, workloads, challenges, and passions. You vary in seasons of motherhood. Some of you are married. Some of you (whom I salute with utmost reverence) are doing it alone. Many of you work outside the home. All of you work inside the home. But I’ve noticed one thing is true for each of you: you are the right mother for your children. You were the right one when they were born. And you’ll be the right one when they are grown.

A couple weeks ago, I thought I would lose my mind for all the chaos in our house. The crying, the global disaster on the premises, the little ears that seemed to go missing. (Do they just fall off sometimes? Because no one was hearing a word I had to say!)

After accidentally putting cinnamon instead of paprika into the breading for our chicken, cutting a fruit snack out of my hair with scissors, and having my daughter tell me, Mom—if you don’t start being nice, I’m going to pack you up and put a sign out that says ‘Mom for Sale,’ I was ready to cash in the apron, turn in my mommy badge, and call it a day. Maybe a year. I found myself muttering aloud, Am I really cut out for this?

And then I remembered you.

The day you stopped by unexpectedly to say hello. I watched how you interacted with your autistic son. While we talked in the driveway he began to cry. You knew exactly what he needed and you were patient. He wanted a Band-Aid. I asked if I could get him one. Do you mind? you asked. It’s his fifth one today. But it would help. I delivered the Band-Aid and all was well.

I remembered our phone conversation this summer when you were taking your kids to the Children’s Museum. You wanted to know if you could stop by for a visit. It’s summer, you said, and we’re packing in everything we can. When I’m not teaching, I try to make up for it by playing hard. We’ve been having a wonderful summer. Your work takes you away during the school year, but when you have an entire summer to spend with your kids, you make every moment count.

I listened to you talk about your daughter’s soccer team. It was looking like she might get cut because she had missed some practices and was playing with a group of older girls. She was distraught after accidentally taking the ball toward the opponent’s goal. You talked with the coach, texted him, went to bat for your daughter. You knew she was good—that she had it in her. And when it came down to skills, you (a soccer-player yourself) spent an hour with her every day working on drills—passing, dribbling, defending. She improved and she stayed on the team.

I laughed aloud as I watched you tickle your two-year-old son. He giggled and giggled and asked you to tickle him some more. Minutes went by until the two of you sighed happy and exhausted. As he rolled off your lap, you told me what you knew: He needed to laugh. I could tell. I was so impressed with your intuition—the way you knew your boy.

I read your blog last week and saw the mug shot of your daughter. I don’t know how you can be so brave. There she was—looking at you from behind the camera. And there was your heart—cracked wide for all to see. You’d been searching for her everywhere—worrying, praying. Then you found her. In jail. And it wasn’t the first time. Yet you claim her: Even though you go missing, I carry you always in my heart.

Seeing you in less than perfect circumstances—still going, still doing, still giving—gave me perspective and strength. Your faces illuminated my moment of self-doubt and I told myself, Yes, you are cut out for this.

You are exactly who your children need. No one can fill your shoes. No one can give what you have to offer. No one can love or know your child like you do. That is the privilege of being a mother.

Question: What have you learned from the mothers you have watched?

Challenge: When you feel like you are not cut out for your job as a mother, stop and remember that just like the other mothers you watch, you are exactly who your children need.

Good Mom Redefined

Allyson Reynolds

What is the definition of a good mom anyway? There are as many answers as there are mothers, and the answers are formed by the mothers who raised us, the places where we grew up, where we currently live, how much media we let into our lives, and even how we’ve been educated. All these influences combine until each of us has our own somewhat self-imposed idea of what constitutes a good mom. And for some of us, we can never match up.

If you are one of those moms who feels more than a little discouraged by all the ways you seemingly fall short, I’d like to invite you to spend a few minutes challenging your preconceived notions, casting off unrealistic ideals, and redefining what it means to be a good mom based on your own personal strengths and circumstances.

Why is this even important? Because a mother who feels like she is failing based on unchallenged stereotypes isn’t nearly as confident, content, and successful as a mother who recognizes and works with both her unique strengths as well as her challenges.

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of how this little mental switch worked for me:

My default definition of a good mother basically boiled down to a domestic goddess. Someone who could cook, clean, sew, craft, and garden like Martha. I’m pretty sure this came from my own experiences growing up. I have memories of my mother canning her own garden-fresh produce, sewing Barbie clothes, and making homemade bread. I can remember her mother—my grandmother—cooking three hot meals a day, tending a large flower and vegetable garden, and making gorgeous dolls from old bleach bottles to give as gifts or sell at the church bazaar.

Rather unintentionally, this definition grew over the years as I approached my own journey into motherhood. It didn’t just evolve based on my own generation’s special flavor, it ballooned into an impossibly broad definition that included the domestic goddess as well as the fitness guru, fashionista, home-based business woman, and unstoppable soccer mom. My definition of what it meant to be a good mom was now spanning two or three generations of Supermoms.

Essentially, I created a monster—an amalgam of Martha Stewart, Kelly Ripa, June Cleaver, and Ma from Little House on the Prairie—and it wasn’t pretty. I failed to consider that Martha has only one child (compared to my four), Kelly has a personal trainer and chef, June didn’t drive her kids to twenty-seven activities per week, and no one expected Ma to do yoga each morning before gathering the eggs.

After several years of unsuccessfully trying to do it all (crashing and burning more than once), I started to recognize that I needed to drastically change my definition of a good mom, and I needed to begin by throwing out the things I didn’t even like to do such as sewing and crafting, frequent shopping for clothing and home decor, and yoga. (I despise them all.)

I also started asking myself tough questions like, Does it really matter if my home is spotless every day? "Is making thirty-two hand-frosted cupcakes really the best use